The Shift Dress

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Shift Dress by Favorite Things
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It’s Friday night, and I am finally finding a chance to sew.  I’m working on my first store project, “The Shift Dress,” by Favorite Things.  For anyone concerned about the timing, I have already completed my layout work and cut all of the fabric the day before.  It should probably take you about 15 minutes or less. I know now that this pattern runs a little large so you may want to go down a size or if you are between sizes pick the smaller one. 

So, hopefully, I will have this outfit finished by the end of the night, and, along the way, I can keep you informed about my progress and any items worth mentioning.

The first couple steps of the pattern are not too difficult.  Just remember to purchase a small piece of ribbon or decorative cord ahead of time, so you don’t have to stop when you are finishing the neck. Also, the instructions do not say "finish seams" throughout each step. It does have a note at the beginning that states: Finish raw edges as desired by zigzagging or serging them. This note is not enough for a beginner like me so it is important to remind your self throughout the process to finish all seams. 

The Pleats: Here you will have to make the pleats on the front of the dress.  The pattern is detailed and will give you the exact places to mark.  You will use these marks to make your pleats. The directions are easy to follow. 

The Placket:  Attach the placket to the back of the dress at the slit in the middle of the neckline.  Make sure you do a nice job with your sewing because it will really show when you turn it right-side out.  Otherwise, this step is very simple.

Assemble the neck:  Then, iron the neck bias.  It’s important that you iron this piece in the correct way.  When you make your 1/2” fold, the wrong sides will be together.  Once your folds are ironed and the neck bias is ready to be attached, pin it to the dress.  Also, do not forget to add your loop of ribbon or cord before you stitch down the bias.

You may have noticed that this step has you creating your own bias tape by hand instead of purchasing it.

Sleeves: Once you get to the section about the sleeves, you are about half way finished.  This section is also the most challenging, in my opinion.  The sleeves require some basting stitches and a little gathering to produce the blousing look.  After you complete the sleeves and attach them to the dress, the project is almost over. It’s important to make sure that you have added all the dots and notch marks from the pattern to your fabric beforehand.  First, you will run your basting stitches through the material.  Then, you will sew the sleeve closed at the 2 short ends, right-sides together.  Remember to press your seams!

Now, you will make a sleeve bias similar to the neck.  The trickiest part of this step is aligning the sleeve and bias together.  However, you will utilize all of your marks to make this part a little easier.  You will notice that the sleeve is bigger than the bias, but you will use your baste stitch to gather and fit the sleeve.  Be careful not to gather too much.  Just do a little and check the fit, then repeat until you have it.
Gather the other side of the sleeve and simply attach it to the dress.  Remember to gather and check your fit.

Just a few more finishing steps and you will have a beautiful handmade outfit.

Elastic Casing: Make sure you serge or finish all the edges of this piece before you sew it to the dress.  The casing will be centered horizontally with the center of the back of the dress.  You will sew it to the inside, and the ends should stop near the side seams.  When adding your elastic, secure with 2 safety pins, and top stitch it in place. Now that the shirt is complete I wish I would have used less elastic and pulled it tighter but I like a more fitted look. Turn the dress right-side out, and you are almost finished.

Finish off the bottom edge with a nice hem and a topstitch.  Add the buttons to the waistline, marked from your pattern.  Finally, add the button on the neck and you’re done!

I created the Tunic version of this pattern, but the full dress version will exactly follow the same procedure.

I am very satisfied with myself for completing this project so nicely and with ease.  The instructions were written well, which helps so much.  In the end, this project took me about 1.5 hours (excluding cutting) to complete, and I would say I am still a beginner.

The pattern also gives a color blocked concept. Go to the Favorite Things Pattern blog or Laura's color block blog post for help. 


  1. Looks great, Daniela! I love your choice of fabric and your shirt is gathered very nicely, giving it a little shape, especially compared to the looser look in the other photos. Great job!

    1. Thank you for the compliment. Gathering has been a difficult skill for me to learn. I am so happy to hear that it looks good.

  2. You may be a beginner sewer but you are an experienced writer! Great detailed review! I've made the dress for my granddaughter and it looks adorable on her and is so comfortable for a little one that doesn't want tight bands around her middle. Thanks for the great pattern!

    1. I am glad to hear that you like my blog. I was probably more worried about my first blog than the dress. Thanks and Happy Sewing.


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